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How To Start Hiking As A Hobby (13 Life Saving Tips!)

Want to know how to start hiking as a hobby? 

Are you looking to explore nature in your free time? Perhaps you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life?

Then hiking is the best hobby to start because the bonus is you’ll get some exercise in, too!

Nothing beats the feeling of breathing in the fresh morning air and the gentle warmth of the sun on your skin. 

I’m Seline from Princess and Mama. Being a mom of two young kids, I love to seek new adventures and experiences with my family.

Every time I go on a hike, it makes me feel instantly healthier and happier. 

Filling in my lungs with fresh oxygen and getting a good sweat on while marveling at the scene before my eyes beat sitting at home or going to the gym anytime.

Don’t worry about having the latest gear or the best boots on your first hike. In this beginner’s guide to hiking, you’ll find all you need to know to start your hiking hobby.

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby:

1. Find A Hiking Partner

2. Get Some Hiking Gear

3. Choose Your Hiking Clothes

4. Get Some Hiking Boots

5. Bring Some Food And Water

6. Pack the Hiking Essentials

7. Pick A Hike for Beginners

8. Tell Someone Your Hiking Route

9. Check The Weather On The Day Of The Hike

10. Navigate Your Hiking Route

11. Listen To Your Body

12. Remember To Leave No Trace

13. Stay Safe While Hiking


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1. Find A Hiking Partner

How to start hiking as a hobby?

When first starting out hiking, tackling it alone can feel overwhelming. 

Finding a hiking partner while still learning all about hiking is a good idea. Not only can you keep an eye out for each other, but you’ll also have company as you explore the great outdoors together. 

If you have a friend who’s already hiking regularly, get them to lead you on a beginner’s trail. 

If you don’t, a great place to look for a hiking partner or even a hiking group is on Meetup and Facebook Groups.

 Here are some popular Facebook groups for you to check out:

Depending on your personal preference, you may want to learn how to go hiking with another newbie, or you may want to tag along with other more experienced hikers. 

Suppose you’re thinking about how to start hiking alone. In that case, my advice for beginners is to wait until you’re comfortable navigating the trail yourself. 

2. Get Some Hiking Gear

Taking up a new hobby does not have to involve spending a lot of money. In this beginner’s guide to hiking, I recommend using what you already have at home. 

To start you off on your first hike, make sure you have a lightweight backpack to store your essentials in. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

You will also need:

3. Choose Your Hiking Clothes

Depending on the weather and your fitness level, you will probably sweat a lot on your first hike. 

When choosing something to wear for hiking, look for loose, comfortable clothing that’s made of lightweight, synthetic material and will dry quickly. The last thing you want on a hike is to have a damp shirt clinging to your body, weighing it down even further. 

If you are hiking in hot weather, have a look at this list of hiking shirts for some ideas. In case it rains, consider bringing a lightweight, waterproof jacket.

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

Even if you are hiking in cool or cold weather, go for layers you can add or remove when the weather calls for it, like a fleece jacket

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

An extra consideration for cold weather is adding a warm base layer made of wool or polyester. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

As for hiking pants, anything goes as long as it’s not a heavy material like denim, which can cause uncomfortable chafing. If you’re on a budget, choose from this list of affordable hiking pants

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

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4. Get Some Hiking Boots

Some of you may wonder if hiking shoes are really necessary. Since you’ll be on your feet most of the time, your hiking shoes will probably be the most important gear to invest in. Go for comfortable shoes which have a good grip. 

If you decide to get a new pair of shoes, make sure that they’re the right fit and break them in before your hike. Blisters can be hard to endure on even the shortest of walks. 

Go for lightweight, trail-running shoes if you’re on a route without many obstacles. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

Or you may prefer hiking boots that provide better support for your ankles when on a rugged, uneven trail. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

Whichever your choice, always make sure that you wear socks with your shoes when hiking. And avoid cotton socks; instead, go for wool or other synthetic materials. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

5. Bring Some Food And Water

You will be using up a lot of energy on your hike, so remember to bring food or snacks as sustenance. 

How To Start Hiking As A Hobby

A protein bar is small, lightweight, but calorie dense and will replenish your energy after all that intense walking. There are many other easy and healthy options for lunch and snacks if a protein bar is not your thing. 

More importantly, remember to stay hydrated throughout your journey. A good guide is to consume half a liter of water every hour of your hike. This amount will also depend on the intensity of your hike, the weather, your age, and your fitness level. 

It’s better to pack a little extra food and water on your first hike in case the trip takes longer than planned. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and thirsty when you still have a long hike ahead of you. 

As you gain more experience, you will learn how much food and water you need on your hikes. 

6. Pack the Hiking Essentials

Now that you have all the necessary gear, it’s time to pack. 

This wouldn’t be a good hiking guide if I didn’t recommend that you pack the ten essentials

This includes:

  • A navigation tool such as a compass, map, or GPS device (your smartphone works, too, just make sure you have an app and are connected!)
  • A first-aid kit for those emergency scrapes and cuts. Ensure you learn how to use everything in the kit before your hike. 
  • Sun protection (think sunscreen, cap, and sunglasses)
  • A headlamp in case your hike takes longer than planned and it starts to get dark.
  • A repair kit for anything that could break on the trip. A torn backpack? A hole in your shoe? Your repair kit should prepare you for most of these eventualities. 
  • A fire starter such as a lighter or some matches can work in a pinch when you need a heat source. 
  • A portable shelter for those unexpected changes of plans. 
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Extra clothes will depend on the weather and season you are in. 

Remember that you’ll have to lug everything with you throughout your journey. So keep everything small, compact and lightweight so that it doesn’t weigh you down and tire you out. 

You can practice carrying your backpack around to have a feel of the weight before your actual hike. If it feels too heavy after 10 minutes, imagine what it would feel like after an hour or two!

7. Pick A Hike for Beginners

There are generally four main types of hiking, but I recommend starting with a day hike if you’re a beginner. This is a hike that can be completed within a day. 

You can use AllTrails or GaiaGPS to find a beginner-appropriate hiking route. 

Other hikers are also good sources of information. Most experienced hikers are open to sharing their favorite trails and can even give tips for your first hike. 

When choosing your route, think about how long you’re comfortable walking. Add more time to the hike if the trail is rocky, uneven, or involves some elevation gain. 

Then, consider that you’ll have to hike back to the starting point. 

Depending on your fitness level, look for a trail that involves anything under 5 miles. 

All those factors should help you narrow your choices and pick a trail you can complete on your first hike. 

8. Tell Someone Your Hiking Route

As part of being safe, I always let someone know my plans before hiking. If anything bad happens, the chances of being found are significantly increased. 

Share your route and the duration and time of your hike with your family or friends. Let them know when to start worrying so they can notify the local emergency services. 

Consider that you might encounter delays along your journey. Tell them to give it a few hours before having any cause for concern. 

It doesn’t hurt to give them the number of your hiking partner or others in your hiking group in case they can’t get through to you on your phone. 

Make it a habit to send them a message when you’ve completed your hike so that they know not to worry. 

9. Check The Weather On The Day Of The Hike

Since hiking involves being outdoors, the weather can significantly impact your plans. It’s important to check the weather forecast for the day of your hike so that you can pack and dress appropriately. 

It’s OK to change or delay your plans if a storm is due. Not only can the trail get slippery, but the reduced visibility can increase the risk of falling off the tracks. 

Also, consider the amount of daylight you’ll have so that you can time your hike and not get caught out after dark. 

10. Navigate Your Hiking Route

Although a GPS device can do most of the navigation for you, there are times when technology can fail. 

Your backup plan can be a good old map and compass, but make sure you know how to use all three pieces of equipment before you start your hike. 

Even if you decide to set off on a popular trail, these guidelines are still worth following. Getting lost can be scary for a beginner hiker and is something we all want to avoid. 

  • Pay attention to where you are at all times. Make sure that what you see around you matches what you see on your map.
  • Know your hiking route well. Use Gaia GPS or Google Maps to help you visualize your trail so that you can identify the landmarks. On the day of the hike, making a mental note every time you pass each landmark will help you stay on track. 
  • Be patient as you navigate. Don’t rush the process and have your judgment clouded by an over-eagerness to reach the destination. When in doubt, stop to take a break and get your bearings before starting out again. 
  • The path of least resistance is usually your best option. As a beginner, you want to conserve energy as much as possible. Even though this path may be further, it is usually more efficient. 
  • If you get lost, remember to stay calm, stay put, and retrace your steps until you spot a familiar landmark. 

11. Listen To Your Body

It is natural to get excited on your first hike and want to power through as fast as you can. 

But a hike is a long walk and usually involves uneven footing.

 You want to conserve your energy for the entire journey, especially for unexpected emergencies like getting lost or the trail being longer than anticipated. 

Stay together with your hiking partner or group to keep an eye out for each other. 

Stick to a comfortable pace and soak in the wonders of the great outdoors. Enjoy the sights and the sounds as you breathe in the fresh morning air. Be in the moment as you reap all the benefits of hiking. 

Most importantly, listen to your body. If you need to take a break, stop and rest. Have a snack, and remember to keep yourself hydrated. 

12. Remember To Leave No Trace

Is hiking a hobby? Yes! But we can only continue enjoying hiking in the outdoors if we all play our part in keeping the environment exactly how we found it. 

While we may not consciously intend to harm nature, we may not know the proper ways to minimize our impact as we go about our hike. 

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace provides guidelines for anyone visiting the outdoors to enjoy it sustainably. It covers everything from properly disposing of waste, leaving things the way we found them, and being considerate of others. 

Find out more about Leave No Trace here and make it a practice on all your hikes. 

13. Stay Safe While Hiking

Safety should remain your top priority when learning how to start hiking as a hobby.

Here are some handy tips:

  • Avoid going on your first hike alone. 
  • Plan for emergencies by bringing a first aid kit in your backpack. 
  • Always pay attention to your surroundings and where you are. 
  • Stick to the route and don’t go off track. 
  • If you get lost, stay calm, stay put and retrace your steps. If you have the signal, call emergency services on your phone. Otherwise, a satellite device with a GPS rescue beacon is a good investment. 

That being said, accidents do happen. It is always better to be prepared. 

Learn how to use everything in your first aid kit. A first aid kit is only useful when you know how to use it. 

FAQs on How to Start Hiking As A Hobby 

How Can I Start Hiking?

“How to start hiking as a hobby?”

If you’re asking yourself how can I start hiking, pick a hike under 5 miles with minimal climbing. Anything longer than that would require extra training before your hike, especially if it involves elevation gain. Add in a mile or two each week until you reach your target distance. 

What Are The 3 Basic Skills In Hiking?

The 3 basic skills in hiking involve pacing, resting, and rhythm. Start with a comfortable pace that you can maintain throughout the hike. Try to get your whole body moving harmoniously with a good rhythm for efficiency. Listen to your body and give yourself a break to rest and recharge.

Can Hiking Be Hobby?

The answer to can hiking be a hobby is yes! Hiking can be a social hobby and activity, but it can also be done alone or with a small group. Aside from the physical and mental benefits, you can also meet new people through hiking groups on Facebook and MeetUp. 

Can You Get In Shape Just By Hiking?

Yes, you can get in shape just by hiking. Even a moderate one-hour hike can burn around 400 calories, all while strengthening your core and lower body. The more challenging and steep your trail is, the more calories you can burn. Also, expect your stamina to improve the more often you hike. 


Now that you know how to start hiking as a hobby, what are you waiting for?

Mother Nature has so much to offer that there is always something different to experience in the outdoors. I’m confident you’ll grow to enjoy it as much as I do. 

Bookmark this page so you can return to this guide again and again. Also, feel free to read through the other posts on hiking to gather more valuable tips. 

Finally, remember to stay healthy and safe on all your hikes. I can’t wait to see where you head for your first hike! Let me know about it in the comments below. 

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